The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, was awarded an honorary doctor’s title by the University of Pécs, in southern Hungary, on Friday.
The title was given in recognition of Tusk’s achievements as a Polish and European politician, which are strongly connected with Hungarian, regional and European history, the university said.
In his acceptance speech, Tusk said he believed in the European Union and praised the value of the community. He cited several iconic Hungarian literary and musical works as defining elements of a Pole’s life.
Tusk said he loved Europe, believed “in the future and the purpose of the European Union – and I will not reject this just because of a momentary Eurosceptic trend. For me, to be a European is a reason to be proud.”
“Europe is … the best place on Earth. A special and unique territory of freedom and culture,” he said.
“The migration crisis – combined with the threat coming from aggressive neighbours – has shown us with full force how much it means to Europeans today to have a common territory and a common border,” he said. “The need to protect our external border, and the need to protect our internal territory against racism and xenophobia” are equally important to preserve the integrity of Europe, Tusk said.
“We should try to reconcile the need for security with freedom, and the need for control with openness,” he said.
Europe is also a community of political values, “among which I will always put freedom first”, Tusk said. “… The most crucial European values continue to be human and civil rights, freedom of speech and conscience, the rule of law, and respect for minorities’ rights. I believe that the only guarantee of the survival of these values is liberal democracy…”, Tusk said.
As we wrote before, for Hungary Donald Tusk’s re-election to president of the European Council indicates that the European Union can continue to function, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said.